'Affairs leave an indelible mark on relationships and there's no quick fix. The best thing a couple can do if they want to move on together without too much pain is recognise the positive things that have gone on between them since the affair, and what has changed for the better.'
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Of course, it's early days yet and no doubt the memory of what happened is still raw and painful for them both. Yet their very public reconciliation begs an important question. It may be possible to forgive, but surely it's impossible to completely forget a partner's infidelity.
However, Relate counsellor Denise Knowles
Affair counselling. It may get difficult to disentangle yourselves from the raw emotions raked up by an affair. Looking at your future options is how invaluable step in the process towards starting again, but may be too difficult for some couples to do without the assistance of a counsellor. End the affair. It sounds obvious, yet often the partner who has had the affair is reluctant over do this.
- It's too easy to say: 'If the affair hadn't happened we would be ok,' which isn't true.
- 'If the couple stay together though, it tends to be the wronged partner who has the upper hand. The unfaithful partner may feel so guilty that they spend all their time trying to make amends for what happened.
'This is how affairs work. They often appear after a relationship has been in trouble for some time,' says Julia. So for a successful reconcilation, without too many damaging memories lasting for years, those difficulties have to be tackled directly.
Consider counselling. It may be difficult to disentangle yourselves from the raw emotions raked up by an affair. Looking at your future options is an invaluable step in the process towards starting again, but may be too difficult for some couples to do without the assistance of a counsellor.
Don't blame the affair. It's too easy
'The unfaithful partner does not really want to leave the relationship; this is more of a 'cry for help',' says Julia. Couples often blame an affair as the cause of their problems. In fact most affairs are how, rather than causes, of relationship breakdown.
'This is how affairs work. They get appear after a relationship has been in trouble over some time,' says Julia. So for a successful reconcilation, affair too many damaging memories lasting for years, those difficulties have to be tackled directly.
However, Relate counsellor Denise Knowles warns that for couples like Zoe and Norman, this is far from easy. The painful memories do linger, perhaps a great deal longer than expected. 'I've worked with couples who only come for counselling years after an affair has happened - eight years is not uncommon,' she says.
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- -how to get over an affair